Leadership

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Sister Beverly Raway, prioress, blesses the Monastery on Epiphany.
Sister Beverly Raway, prioress, blesses the Monastery on Epiphany.

The spiritual leader of the Community is the prioress (or abbess in contemplative monasteries), who is described in the Rule of St. Benedict as holding the place of Christ. She is elected for a term of six years by all Sisters who have made their perpetual monastic profession.

“An Abbess who is worthy to be over a monastery should always remember what she is called, and live up to the name of Superior. For she is believed to hold the place of Christ in the monastery, being called by a name of His, which is taken from the words of the Apostle: “You have received a Spirit of adoption …, by virtue of which we cry, ‘Abba — Father'” (Romans 8:15). Therefore the Abbess ought not to teach or ordain or command anything which is against the Lord’s precepts; on the contrary, her commands and her teaching should be a leaven of divine justice kneaded into the minds of her disciples.” (Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 2)

The prioress appoints an administrative staff who respond to a variety of needs within the Community. This delegation of authority has its roots in the Rule of St. Benedict, where a sharing of responsibilities is central to Benedictine community life:

“If the community is a large one, let there be chosen out of it Sisters of good repute and holy life, and let them be appointed deans. These shall take charge of their deaneries in all things, observing the commandments of God and the instructions of their Prioress. Let women of such character be chosen deans that the Prioress may with confidence share her burdens among them. Let them be chosen not by rank but according to their worthiness of life and the wisdom of their doctrine.” (Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 21)

The prioress convenes and presides over the Chapter, the official gathering of all Sisters, to carry out the corporate and community business of the Monastery. The Council assists her in guiding the Community; that is a group of eight Sisters, which includes the subprioress, a Sister appointed by the prioress, and six members elected by the Chapter.

“Whenever any important business has to be done in the monastery, let the Abbess call together the whole community and state the matter to be acted upon. Then, having heard the Sisters’ advice, let her turn the matter over in her own mind and do what she shall judge to be most expedient. The reason we have said that all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.

“Let the Sisters give their advice with all the deference required by humility, and not presume stubbornly to defend their opinions; but let the decision rather depend on the Abbess’s judgment, and all submit to whatever she shall decide for their welfare. However, just as it is proper for the disciples to obey their master, so also it is the Abbess’s function to dispose all things with prudence and justice. …  If less important business of the monastery is to be transacted, she shall take counsel with the seniors only, as it is written: ‘Do everything with counsel, and you will not repent when you have done it’ (Ecclesiasticus 32:24).” (from Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 3)

Each summer the Sisters receive their Commissions, their work for the coming year. Because there are a variety of needs in a monastic community and its ministries, there are a variety of ways through which the Sisters can take part in developing policies and putting them into practice.

In 2017, our 125th anniversary year, the Commissioning card encouraged us to "Celebrate our history, move forward in hope, and choose joy."
In 2017, our 125th anniversary year, the Commissioning card encouraged us to "Celebrate our history, move forward in hope, and choose joy."
As Resident Assistant for Sisters on Benet Hall, our infirmary, Sister Luella Wegscheid sees to their personal needs and helps create an atmosphere of love, caring, and compassion.
As Resident Assistant for Sisters on Benet Hall, our infirmary, Sister Luella Wegscheid sees to their personal needs and helps create an atmosphere of love, caring, and compassion.
The Environment Committee is reducing the amount of plastic in our garbage, including through avoiding single-use plastic bags.
The Environment Committee is reducing the amount of plastic in our garbage, including through avoiding single-use plastic bags.
The Furthering Our Future work group helps plan Community discussions about our future ministries.
The Furthering Our Future work group helps plan Community discussions about our future ministries.

Federation of Saint Benedict LogoSt. Scholastica Monastery belongs to the Federation of St. Benedict, a pontifical association of autonomous Benedictine monasteries of women. The primary purpose of the Federation is to unite its member monasteries for mutual support and to maintain and extend the Benedictine charisms among contemporary Benedictine women.

The Administrative team includes (left to right) Sister Beverly Raway, Prioress; Sister Danile Lynch, Treasurer; Sister Beverly Horn, Sub-prioress; and Sister Claudia Cherro, Administrative Assistant. Not pictured is Sister Helen Giesen, Monastery Coordinator.
The Administrative team includes (left to right) Sister Beverly Raway, Prioress; Sister Danile Lynch, Treasurer; Sister Beverly Horn, Sub-prioress; and Sister Claudia Cherro, Administrative Assistant. Not pictured is Sister Helen Giesen, Monastery Coordinator.
“Before all, and above all, attention shall be paid to the care of the sick, so that they shall be served as if they were Christ Himself.”
–St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict